India’s Coal Boom Drives Australian Coal Export

  • Date: 14/06/15
  • Gina Rushton, The Australian

Coal exports to India have more than doubled from 3.2 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes over the nine months to March. International Energy Agency predicts global electricity demand could double between 2009 and 2035.

Coal ships sail up the NSW coast at Terrigal on the way to Newcastle

Coal ships on the NSW coast near Terrigal Source: Supplied

The bulk carriers were lining up as far away as Gosford yesterday waiting to get a berth at New­castle’s giant port almost 100km to the north.

Raising hopes among downbeaten miners, coal exports from NSW are up on the last financial year, pointing to a new era for the sector that hopes to feed India’s rising appetite for energy.

While prices have come off sharply from slowing demand from China, coal remains NSW’s number one export commodity. Exports for 2014-15 jumped nearly 5 per cent to 133 million tonnes, from 127 million tonnes in the previous financial year.

Exports to India have more than doubled from 3.2 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes over the nine months to March, according to figures released by Coal Services.

“Exports of NSW coal to Korea are up 8 per cent, while exports to Taiwan have risen by 21 per cent and across the rest of Asia outside of Japan and China, exports have more than doubled to 15.6 million tonnes over the last nine months,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said.

The figures would be of little comfort to the 5000 coal industry employees of the state who lost their jobs over the past two years, but bode well for the long-term future of the sector, he said.

“We shipped more last year than we did the year before,” Port Waratah Coal Services spokesman Paul Chamberlin said.

The bulk of the coal exported through the Newcastle port was to China and Japan but “India is a growing market”, he said. “It is a win for Newcastle and Queensland because the coal that comes out of the Hunter Valley is very clean compared to ground coal from Victoria.”

The port last week received approval for a $5 billion coal loading terminal, the T4 project, with a capacity for 70 million tonnes.

“If you built it tomorrow it wouldn’t be used,” Mr Chamberlin said. “The indicators are that it is not needed at present, but exports will continue to grow … you respond to what you’re told will be future demand.”

The Minerals Council’s Mr Galilee estimated that India currently imported 80 per cent of its “low-grade, high-ash coal” from Indonesia.

“(India’s) move to cleaner coal imports puts NSW in a prime ­position to benefit from this growing demand for the type of clean thermal coal our state produces,” he said.

Japan comprises 40 per cent of total NSW coal exports, followed by China at 18 per cent and Korea at 11 per cent, but Mr Galilee said demand from India was set to ­increase.

He pointed to a recent speech by India’s head of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, who said that India wanted international miners to send their coal to India, including Australian players.

The most recent forecast from the International Energy Agency predicts global electricity demand could double between 2009 and 2035 as those in the developing world gain access to electricity.

“The energy mix is changing but there is still a use for fossil fuels,” Mr Chamberlin said. “India wasn’t even on the radar a few years ago.”

Full story

Recent Popular Articles


We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our website. By continuing without changing your cookie settings, we assume you agree to this. Please read our privacy policy to find out more.